Hailo, a global e-hail mobile app, announced its entry into the Korean market. Seng Jun Lee, the former CEO of Interpark, a Korean online auction and shopping mall, will be the CEO of Hailo Korea. Hailo has officially opened its Korean corporate sector, according to an industry insider.
Founded in London in 2011, Hailo is the leading e-hail mobile app with 75% market share in London. Inspired with its success, Hailo expanded its business to sixteen global cities including Toronto, Boston, Chicago, and New York. Now, Hailo plans to make the service available in major Asian cities as well, including Seoul, Osaka, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taipei.
With the recent $1.1 billion investment received, Hailo is putting efforts to build an effective global taxi network. With eighty developers who have programming experiences at Google, Facebook, and other IT venture firms, Hailo is developing city-specific technologies to satisfy the global customers. Hailo’s mission is to provide e-hail service to anyone and everyone in the world.
Hailo’s entry into the Korean market is surprising considering the recent crisis of Uber Korea. Seoul Metropolitan Government made it clear that Uber service is illegal and that the prohibition law is under review. It also announced strict cracking down on Uber Black, an upgraded Uber service mobile app.
Seoul Metropolitan Government questions Uber’s security measures. As Uber operates with rental cars or personal vehicles instead of a registered taxi, it is hard to determine whether the vehicle is insured. The driver’s identity is also a concern, as he or she could be a criminal or an unlicensed driver.
Unlike Uber, Hailo uses registered taxis. When a user requests a ride, Hailo sends a taxi close by, using the location service. The rider could pay with the registered credit card on Hailo app or with cash. Hailo takes a certain amount for commission, which varies by cities and taxi drivers could register on Hailo for free.
E-hail service market is growing quickly, yet the conflicts between taxi drivers continue to rise. San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency’s report says cab use in the city has fallen by 65%. Such downfall is a result of the increasing usage of e-hail services such as Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar, according to Business Insider.
European taxi market is also on alert by e-hail service as well. Germany expressed its concern that such services’ drivers “lack the appropriate licenses and insurance to operate in the country” and it is clearly a violation of the country’s law. The protests organized by German taxi drivers at Olympia Stadium in Beriln, Germany last June is just a glimpse of the larger conflicts between ride-sharing apps and registered taxi drivers.